The heirs of a French Jewish art dealer killed in a Nazi concentration camp will get a piece of the upcoming sale at Christie’s of a Monet painting looted by the Nazis and acquired after the war by a Swiss collector.
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The painting, “Haystacks at Giverny,” was painted by Claude Monet in 1885 and is estimated to be worth $12 million to $18 million. “Haystacks,” one of several similar paintings of a pasture near the artist’s French home, was acquired by Rene Gimpel, a French art dealer associated with the intellectual elite of his time and a frequent visitor to Monet’s home, according to The New York Times.
After the outbreak of World War II, Gimpel was detained by the Nazi-allied Vichy government in France and shipped off to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he died. Gimpel’s grandson, who also is named René Gimpel and is an art dealer, believes his grandfather was forced to sell the Monet under duress, according to the Times. The artwork surfaced in Geneva during the war and eventually ended up in the hands of a private Swiss collector.
Under the terms of a restitution agreement, the elder Gimpel’s heirs will receive an undisclosed amount from the auction house sale, which is to take place in May.
Gimpel told the Times that his family has reached restitution agreements on two other artworks that had belonged to his grandfather.